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Saïd Abdullah of the Mayac, Kingdom of the Darfur (Seïd Enkess)
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Saïd Abdullah of the Mayac, Kingdom of the Darfur (Seïd Enkess)


Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description Seïd Enkess was a formerly enslaved man who traveled Europe and subsequently became an artist’s model. A plaster version of this bust was first exhibited with the title “Said Abdullah of the Mayac, Kingdom of Darfur” in 1848, a year which saw Paris in revolt as well as the abolishment of slavery in French colonies. The artist, Cordier, later reflected that the portrait itself was “a revolt against slavery, . . . widening the circle of beauty by showing that it existed everywhere.” Cordier, who specialized in portrait-like sculptures, retitled the portrait “Black Man from Timbuktu” for its second exhibition in Paris in 1851. Through retitling, the likeness of Enkess came to represent a racial type. An African woman served as the model for a companion piece in 1851 (Walters 54.2665). Regarded by 19th-century viewers as powerful expressions of nobility and dignity: casts were acquired by the Museum of Natural History in Paris and also by Queen Victoria. The Walters' pair were cast by the Paris foundry Eck and Durand in 1852.
Exhibitions
  • The Allure of Bronze. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
  • A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
Provenance Shepherd Gallery, New York; Walters Art Museum, 1991, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase, 1991

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Period
1852
Medium
bronze
(Metal)
Accession Number
54.2664
Measurements
H: 16 9/16 x W: 10 1/16 in. (42 x 25.5 cm); H with Base: 20 1/16 × W: 10 1/16 × D: 7 5/16 in. (51 × 25.5 × 18.5 cm)
Geographies
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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